TBT Tech Desk:
Apart from Orion’s test flight towards Mars, cutting-edge scientific discoveries while studying the Earth and space and preparing for the next generation of air travel were some of the highlights for US space agency NASA in 2014.
“We continued to make great progress on our journey to Mars this year with successful completing the first flight of Orion – the next deep space spacecraft in which our astronauts will travel,” NASA administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement.
NASA achieved a major milestone in December on its journey to Mars as the agency’s Orion spacecraft completed its first voyage to space during a four-and-a-half-hour test flight.
Orion is part of NASA’s plan to develop new technologies and capabilities to send astronauts farther than ever before, first to an asteroid, and onward to the Red Planet.
In September, the agency had announced that US astronauts would travel to and from the International Space Station (ISS) from the US on American spacecraft under groundbreaking contracts worked by NASA’s Commercial Crew Programme.
The agency selected Boeing and SpaceX to transport US crews to and from the space station using their CST-100 and Crew Dragon spacecraft, respectively, with a goal of ending the nation’s sole reliance on Russia in 2017.
The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the most powerful ever built, moved from the concept phase to the development phase in 2014.